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Wembley Arena to host badminton & gymnastics in 2012

Melitina Staniouta and Nathan Robertson
Rhythmic gymnastics and badminton are satisfied with Wembley's credentials

Wembley Arena has been confirmed as the venue for badminton and rhythmic gymnastics events at the 2012 Olympics.

The two sports had originally been scheduled to be held at a temporary venue in east London close to the athletes's village and Olympic Park.

Despite worries over transport time from Wembley to Stratford, both sports' governing bodies agreed to the switch.

The agreement should save around £20m and Olympics minister Hugh Robertson said the decision was "sensible".

International Olympic Committee co-ordination commission chairman Denis Oswald confirmed the decision in Vancouver in February, but both sports' governing bodies had to ratify the venue change, which was confirmed on Wednesday.

"We are delighted to have reached this agreement with the BWF (Badminton World Federation) and FIG (International Gymnastics Federation) and I would like to thank them for their full co-operation and support," said London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe.

To win a medal there at the London Olympics would give it a bit of extra spice rather than in a new venue

Olympic silver medallist Nathan Robertson on playing at Wembley

The Olympic budget was slashed by £27m on Monday as part of the £6.2bn of savings in public spending announced by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.

And London mayor Boris Johnson welcomed the Wembley switch as a prudent money-saving move. "We are in good shape to host a world-beating Games without spending beyond our means," he said.

Badminton's governing body had wanted to be near to the Olympic Park in Stratford and were initially unhappy at the plans to relocate to north-west London.

But athletes will be offered nearby accommodation and training facilities to cut travel times.

Wembley's selection as the host of the 2011 World Championships also swayed badminton officials to sanction the venue switch.

"The athletes' interest has been the central factor in our discussions with Locog and we are pleased that the plans put in place will live up to our expectations," said BWF president Kang Young Joong.

"Wembley Arena has a long history of hosting badminton events and we look forward to seeing great badminton being played there again - both during the London 2012 Olympic Games and at the 2011 London BWF World Championships."

Olympic silver medallist Nathan Robertson was among those who supported the decision not to build the temporary venue and to play at Wembley.

He told BBC Sport in February: "For players, Wembley has a lot of history. To win a medal there at the London Olympics would give it a bit of extra spice rather than in a new venue."



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see also
Olympics 2012 venue guide
03 Dec 08 |  Olympics
Concern over Olympic Park promise
25 May 10 |  London
2012 Olympic budget cut by 27m
24 May 10 |  London
Badminton star backs Wembley move
05 Feb 10 |  Badminton
Wembley Arena to host 2012 events
26 May 10 |  Olympics
Minister backs Wembley for 2012
13 Oct 09 |  London
BOA opposed to 2012 boxing switch
16 Sep 09 |  Olympics
London told to choose 2012 venues
07 Oct 09 |  Olympics
Wembley Arena wins 2012 backing
24 Sep 09 |  Olympics
Badminton opposed to 2012 switch
18 Sep 09 |  Badminton


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